Cruise Stranded by Virus Fears Ends With Roses in Cambodia

Cruise Ship Previously Rejected by Five Countries Over Virus Fears Will Finally Be Allowed to Dock

But the authoritarian leader of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, agreed to let the Westerdam dock.

Although no one has fallen ill aboard, the ship was turned away by Guam, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand over fears that someone on board could have the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 1,300 people, nearly all in China.

More than 2,200 passengers and crew celebrated as they began to disembark on Friday.

The Sun today reported that officials are now checking the health of those on board after twenty passengers experienced various health issues.

The grateful passengers sang his praises.

"Thank you Cambodia! You believed in us when no one would!" tweeted passenger Lydia Miller around 7 pm (1200 GMT). "He has a wonderful heart", said Anna Marie Melon, from Queensland, Australia, who was among the roughly 100 tourists who were greeted warmly after their ordeal. "I'm very excited (to be here)", she said as she waved a rose Hun Sen had handed to her.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen received the first passengers on the pier, who were presented with flowers and "krama", a traditional Cambodian handkerchief.

After that, the Dutch-flagged luxury liner was barred from docking in Manila, Kaohsiung in Taiwan, and, despite a request by US State Department, the American territory of Guam.

"Your country did a great job". We admire it very a lot.

"We know this is confusing for our guests and their families and we greatly appreciate their patience", the company said.


Stephen Hansen, another Canadian passenger, told CTV News on Thursday morning that they're still waiting for clearance from Cambodian officials to disembark.

John Stanley, of Evesham in England, who with his wife Olive had been on the ship since it departed from Singapore in January on the first leg of its journey, recounted some of the stresses of the last two weeks.

Despite the panic, none of the passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus at this stage. "I think they've handled it professionally, and I think they're extremely capable", Trump said in a podcast broadcast on iHeart Radio.

All this followed an initial false alarm on January 30, when almost 6,000 passengers and crew members were kept on board the Costa Smeralda cruise ship in Italy, while officials investigated a potential coronavirus case of a 54-year-old Chinese passenger who showed flu-like symptoms.

As the primary passenger stepped off the ship, Hun mentioned: "Today, even supposing Cambodia is a deficient nation, Cambodia has all the time joined the world group to unravel the issues that the sector and our area are going through". The government accuses the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party of involvement in a plot to topple the government and has asked the judiciary to dissolve it. CNRP officials have denied the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

Ghebreyesus said Cambodia's move "is a welcome act of solidarity at a time when the world has a window of opportunity to stop COVID-2019".

"I hope that other countries will follow Cambodia's lead".

In its latest update, Hubei province's health commission on Friday said it had recorded 116 deaths and 4,823 new cases of the flu-like virus that emerged in the provincial capital, Wuhan, in December.

Acting as a good Samaritan is an unusual role for Hun Sen, who has been in power for 35 years.

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